Monday, November 29, 2010

notes and babblings

the retreat had a bigger affect on me that I expected. [hence the quietness here at Villa Maria]. I have come to a real state of peace within. this could also be because of the centering prayer that I do daily, that I go to a spiritual counsellor weekly or that I go to Mass nearly every day... I am very lucky to have the opportunity. a block away is our church,[St.Thomas Aquinas and the Angels Guardian], so I can walk there and back... of course, I am in fear of being labeled a bible basher.. much like when I was a young teenager.. and I also feel the need to explain which is why this post is beginning to become a babble of explanations. why do I feel the need to do this? no idea.... all I know is that this peace is like pure heaven for me. I am settled, comfortable and yes, at peace. I go to Mass and I cry.. I feel my heart chakra swelling. I am less angry.. all is well in my world...

from my journal:

while I was on retreat, reflecting on my spiritual journey, quite often the issue of fear came up for me in my thoughts and journaling. fear of not being accepted.. this could stem from my teenage years of feeling as if I were the odd one out. I was quite a serious and 'soulful' girl.. not at all like the normal teens.. and I was laughed at and ridiculed and most times not accepted as one of the gang. so I shunned Jesus.. and became one of the girls... and it went on into my late teens as a young mother and early twenties... not being 'religious' because it was not cool.. but always deep in my soul was the yearning..
and the past few years of searching & delving into other beliefs.. has brought me full circle. back to my strong yearning for God...... I haven't given up my love of the Wheel of the year - I can still follow that but I must finally accept that I am a follower of Jesus. .. and still there is a resistance in my very being.. but also, a welling up of joy in my heart

even now when i read this journal entry, i have the Jesus aversion... fear of being branded a religious nut, a bible basher.. the need to explain.. *sigh*

so what has been happening at Villa Maria?

gardening on the weekend, bought me back to my groundedness...

I weeded and mulched and had a thoroughly lovely time in the garden. cucumbers are forming on my vines and the tomatoes have flowers. basil, eggplant, capsicum and pumpkins plants are all thriving. I have hydrangea flowers coming on the bushes and lavender spikes in abundance. gardenias and geraniums are promising gorgeous bouquets for summer.

making my traditional Christmas cake...

a swig or two of brandy for the cake, not for me.. [I tried Brandy once - thinking I was very sophisticated, sipping it from a brandy balloon in front of an open fire when Joe and I were away on a romantic weekend.. sipped once and just about fainted from the fumes !!]

stirring wishes, love and dreams into each slice..

and the first Sunday of Advent..

[on Saturday, after dinner, Joe & I went for a long stroll - gathering green bits for my advent wreath. it is not perfect by any means.. but when that candle is lit - it looks divine]

the first Sunday in Advent.. a gorgeous cool, misty mountains day.. the first candle lit...
sharing thoughts from a friend:
Advent is to be used as a time of preparing to give birth to the Christ within, to prepare every cell of our bodies to carry the Light of Christ that has come into our world. Prepare ye the way of the Lord is a phrase we hear and say a lot during the Advent time. With each week that we increase the light symbolically with our Advent wreath and Altar, we have an opportunity to allow more Light-Flow into our world through us, the living incarnate word Jesus left behind to do the work..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my retreat - with my God

it all seemed so romantic & exciting when I booked the retreat last week - then the panic set in. Even on the trip down to St.Mary's Towers, I could have turned around and gone home. many times.

dinner at 6 then Mass.. once that was over - we were in silence and left alone til morning
FRIDAY NIGHT from my journal: I miss Joe and feel lost & sad and feel like crying. I sit here wondering what I am supposed to be doing. the weekend stretches in front of me like a gaping hole.

Saturday: early morning walk. the air was slightly crisp. the sky already a dazzling blue. as I walked down the path, a feather had been placed on the ground [I like to think by the angels]. a sign to me that I was in the right place at the right time. I was in awe of the sacredness & quietness of this place. feeling blessed to be here. I walked and felt tears welling up - not for the reason that I first thought [of being alone] but because at that moment I truly believed that God loved me. I felt it in every cell of my being. Ants busily made their nests, magpie babies chased their mothers with that constant calling that they do. I wondered if it drove the mother birds insane. Birds sat in trees, at one time many of them sitting in branches, singing like a choir. I stood, listened and watched.

it feels very odd to be in the presence of other people and not speak. I feel rude at times. not even smiling or making eye contact. but in another way, very reverent. we all go about our business, some opening curtains, making breakfast as if we are all on separate planes of existence.. I am beginning to enjoy this .....
I love God so much. sometimes it makes me cry

St Marys Towers is absolute pure silence. no music. no tv. total stillness. that is what I wish to achieve & have in my daily life. of course, that is not possible because I am married and have a family. so how can I bring this into my daily life so that it works for me?

each day we had a Mass - and I had many opportunities to sit with Jesus in the many prayer chapels

it was if all my prayers & wishes had been answered - sitting in a circle of women- hearing of love & the Divine. candles & music that stirred my soul. in a very simple way, living in a convent - the life of a contemplative...but best of all


ever since I was a little girl - ever since I can remember, I have had a burning desire deep inside to find God. sometimes it is not as strong as others, but it always resurfaces. this absolute yearning.

natures Golden chalice

forget about yesterday - do not worry about tomorrow - but live this day as a person of faith

the Holy Spirit Tree

seeing the bottlebrush pods - a reminder of my childhood. God's way today that showing me that he was there then and is here with me now - constant.

statues of Mary

and simple shrines.. it was all like heaven to me.

on the weekend, I realised that I am a christian mystic [or rather, aspire to be one]. it is no good running anymore from this Jesus aversion thing that I have been avoiding for such a long time. it is time to embrace this - I was at such peace on the weekend just by accepting who I am and what I believe. Reading Carl McColman's book: Christian Mysticism, helped me tremendously over the weekend.
I struggle with knowing how to pray - centering prayer is easy for me to do.. i love it.. but how do I make my whole life, my whole day, a prayer? how do I hold the world in prayer?
I gained a spiritual director & once a month I can go back to St. Marys Towers for a day of solitude and silence and meet with my spiritual director - it is just a dream come true.

Monday, November 15, 2010

yes, I am home

[a vignette that I focused on while eating my meals in silence]

so, so much to absorb at the moment. some of my retreat will remain private - between me and my God, but eventually I will share the photos that I took on my last day - on an early morning walk... and some few snippets from my journal but first of all I want to ask: prophesy?

remember this collage from a few months ago?:

notice the building in the background of the collage

notice the similarity to the building in the collage... - so many things in the collage above are very similar to my weekend away. the woman in the front was very similar to many icons shown in our talks in the morning and my room was upstairs [notice the stairs and the bed] - the plant in the front was similar to many around the property - the door at the top of the stairs was similar to the entrance door to the building.. and I did quite a bit of work on my inner little girl. was this a prophecy or something my soul knew was going to happen? I like to think so.

each morning the priest Fr. Naughton held Tai Chi under the arches. He wore a beret.. he was a beautiful soul - and the love of God permeated his being. I felt so loved when in his presence.

now see below the collage that I did after the first one..

notice the man in the center.. surrounded by women.. the retreat was a woman's retreat for contemplation..
do you see a resemblance to the Priest in the man with the beret? and the many aspects of me that I took to the retreat..

ps: I loved it!!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

leaving the Red and plants of the desert ~ a story in pictures

Sunday morning dawned and our 6 day visit to the Red Centre of Australia came to an end. Early that morning, I woke and took myself off for a walk to a sand dune, to greet the day and to connect for the last time. to just be.

the first thing I spotted was this:

a Sturts Desert Pea. a sign from my childhood. a good sign with nice memories of my dad.. when he was younger, he was an interstate truck driver & once he came home with tales of the outback and photos of these desert peas. this was the first one I had ever seen in reality.. it was stunning and breathtaking and I can understand how my dad felt when he saw the desert covered in them.
[and what a perfect coloured flower for today - RED - for Remembrance Day - the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year Australians observe one minute silence at 11 am on 11 November, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts]

the air was still and crisp as I walked through the red desert sand.

~ there are PINK flowers

and Yellow - a desert hakea - the colours were brilliant. and I mean that literally.

a desert raisin - traditional food of the Aboriginal people

the desert OAK - our very own wise trees - some that I saw were over 800 years old - a spot, in the age of this ancient land.

the desert bush plum, another traditional food - the fruit has 8 - 10 times the amount of vitamin C to an orange

and spinifex - the roots of this were chewed by the native people and used as glue to make baskets - the glue has been proven to be stronger than superglue - amazing what God's garden gives to us - if only we had that knowledge to use for much is lost.

I sat for while on the sand, eyes close just breathing in the stillness - meditating and feeling the grounding energies coming up through each chakra until it bubbled up through my crown and over me like a waterfall.. it was a divine, sacred moment for me. I was one.

time to leave the desert

a four hour trip home - we were upgraded to first class - a nice ending to a fantastic time away..

see you when I get home!

so that is my time away...

Villa Maria continues to be beautified.. our stove is here, new windows were installed just after we arrived home. I have not been dealing very well with all the moving, male energies coming in and out - it is like a revolving door..our light fittings went in yesterday and our carpet has been ordered.

I am off to my silent retreat this weekend and am still a little afraid.. of being alone I think. I have alot of wise advice from friends and have printed that out when those panic attacks set in..
I am also seeing a counsellor to help me with anger, bitterness, frustration and impatience that has been rearing it's ugly head lately..- it is time for me to work with this..

I have been doing centering prayer daily - bringing me closer to my God. at the moment, I am at peace with my soul journey. a good thing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

another little walk & thoughts..of Uluru

Saturday was our last day - we were going home Sunday - so we took a last chance to go to Uluru and a walkabout with another aboriginal guide.. Valerie - here she is on her way to the Waterhole

she told us the dreamtime story of her ancestors and how they chased evil spirits away - [here Valerie was pointing out snake markings.. a snake was nearby - fresh snake tracks... eek!!]

to the right of Valerie I am sure is a spirit of some kind - hazy white.. can you see it?

Valerie was very shy - but she was happy to have her photo taken with me

now the thoughts:
FROM MY JOURNAL - I found Uluru to be a very foreboding place - not welcoming at all - like stern Saturn - an unapproachable energy.. but that said, I was in awe of the magnitude of the rock itself. and how small I was compared to it.
at Kata Tjuta, I felt a softer energy, which confuses me as this is a place of secret men's business
. NOTES TAKEN WHILE ON TOUR: Uluru is 500 - 600 billion years old. there is also another large 'rock' south of Uluru - Mt. Connor (home of the Ninya men [the ice men] who cause the cold winds to blow) which is 750 - 800 billion years old. it is a mesa. at one stage the whole area was covered in glaciers. Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Mt Connor are 3 tors and there is a place where you can go that they line up in almost a dead straight line - there is something very sacred and spiritual about this fact.. not sure what though.

LIFE: what have I done!? last week at my centering prayer group, the priest gave me a brochure about retreats. I came home, read it and the next day I booked in for a weekend retreat - which is next weekend! a silent retreat to boot - no talking after our first meal on the Friday night til Sunday afternoon. I am going into total panic.. it wells up inside.. fear of being alone without Joe, fear of having no outside contact..fear of having to be silent - usually I would back out of this.. I hope I don't this time. I know that this is a big part of my spiritual journey & will be fantastic for me... so please cheer me on.

not long ago, I wished that I was a nun in a silent order... be careful what you wish for....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

dinner under the stars

the Sounds of Silence dinner, was more than I could even have imagined

at 5pm, we were picked up by coach and taken into our own private dining area [by private, I mean only 80 other people].. we walked up to a viewing platform, where we were served canapes with a difference: crocodile, kangaroo and bush fruits..

and of course a glass of champagne

as we stood watching the sunset over Uluru, we were entertained by a young man & his Didgeridoo ~

Dwain Phillis [he was absolutely brilliant]  he told us that he made his own didgeridoo.. from a branch that had been eaten out by bush termites. the technique he described was ingenious. something that had been handed down to him by his ancestors.)

the music sent shivers deep into my soul.. like a homecoming... after he had played awhile, he called us all over and began to talk.. I felt a kindred soul. At first I thought Dwain was white, like me but as he began to talk, he told us his grandfather was an Aboriginal. "look at me' he said - "I am white. I am a mix of Irish and Aboriginal. - Alot of us are, here in this country" - "who are we?" he said "of this land. we are all one."I chatted further with him, alone. I spoke to him about my difficulty in feeling that I belong. he told me that his grandfather had told him that we have come nearly full circle in this issue of belonging - that we all live under the same stars. whoever we may be. He was a beautiful soul and his words helped me alot. I often wonder, if in my family tree, there may be Indigenous blood... coming from my Dad's side. I do believe the Elders had sent him there that night.

then we were taken down a little dune and came to this. tables set with white tablecloths, candles, silver & glass. all twinkling under the brilliant sky that was becoming night time fast. our fellow companions for the night were lovely. some from the UK and others came from not far from Villa Maria. a small, small world.

wine flowed freely. reds from Western Australia. Crocodile caesar salad. chicken & bush herb sausages. couscous with lemon myrtle. seared Kangaroo steaks. bush herb lamb cutlets. dessert was a choice of apple and bush plum crumble. oh I forget the other choices. all delicious..
after dinner we were entertained by an astrologer with telescopes. she gave us a little informative chat and we had the opportunity to look at the stars through her telescopes....
after coffee was served ~ we were whisked back to our room... feeling very much like Cinderella... I still pinch myself that it happened.
"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)